Monthly Archives: July 2006

back from bloggie camp for girls

the gorgeous Karen Walrond in her tropical necklace, Canon Digital Rebel

I just returned from a long weekend at Blogher, which I’ve been affectionately calling blogger camp for girls. It was so much fun! and I miss it already. Where’s the pool? Where are the cool women? Why am I alone in my office?

The highlight for me was meeting some of the women I have been in contact with via email but had never had a chance to meet. Karen Walrond of Chookoloonks, pictured above, is a perfect example. She flew all the way from Trinidad to be at the conference and she is even more amazing in real life. It was also a gift to spend time with Jen Lemen currently on hiatus from blogging, Tracey Clark who makes gorgeous photos and Kristin Lemen who makes sassy maternity tees with lines like “Mommy wants a cocktail” and “Definitely not having a silent birth”. The list could go on of the talented women I met!

Kristin Lemen, baby brewing tees, Canon Digital Rebel

There is so much to say… Should I tell you about the closing keynote when Arianna Huffington inspired us with her fierce courage? or all of the other strong, inspiring voices like Caterina Fake, Mena Trott, Caroline Little and Grace Davis?

Maggie Mason, the best moderator in the world, Canon Digital Rebel

My panel was also a highlight of my weekend. My friend and roomie at the hotel, Maggie Mason, was the moderator of our panel entitled, Is the next Martha Stewart a Blogger? I learned so much from my fellow panelists and also learned that I am very nervous in front of crowds and that the only cure for the trembly-get-me-the-hell-out-of-here shakey shakes was to out myself and say okay, “I am very nervous!” It was like my personal pressure release valve.

It was also a treat to see all of my superhero clients/friends with their jewels! Having an online business, I don’t always get the pleasure of seeing my work in action. Here are some links to Meg Hourihan and Pim.
Mostly, I want to say thank you to everyone I met this weekend. I hope to meet more of you at next year’s Blogher!

because the world should know you’re a superhero

Caleb in his superhero tee with my sister, Canon Digital Rebel

At long last, Superhero t-shirts are back in stock! Adult sizes are in and we have some cutie patooty baby long sleeves that you will love.

Also, if you place an order for two necklaces, you get a short sleeve superhero tee for free!

Glue ladies gone wild

Sasha and I taking our “glue lady” job on the assembly line very seriously, Southern Exposure, SF, Canon Digital Rebel

Art you wish you had made: The famous red paper clip story. {via Eileen}

Art that will make you giggle.

Art that you could stare at for hours: The Smithsonian portrait competition.

Art that is beautiful and slightly disturbing: Large scale, striking sculptures of people. {via Tablehopper}

Art that is a dance: You may remember that I wrote about my friend’s short film Winter of the Dance a while back.

Well now you can see it for yourself! You will not be disappointed.

And art that comes in a can! You can now purchase a limited edition can of art gallery from the Rebar project “Encanment.” To see photos of my husband Matt, myself and many of my friends “working the assembly line” check out Sasha’s Flickr photo stream.

And finally, if you are in the Bay Area tune into the fabulous show SPARK on KQED Channel 9 this Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm. You can see an interview with Matt and the closing of the show!

kind voices

legs, Stinson Beach, CA, Canon Digital Rebel

The other morning Matt walked into my office and caught me talking to myself.

I blushed hard, mid-sentence, only then realizing that in my daily work-from-home-alone life I probably do a lot of chatting to yours truly.

The funny thing about it was that I was saying to myself, “You’re doing great! You’re doing great!”

It’s nice to know that in my private moments, there are still kind voices in my head.

Or maybe I’m just practicing for parenting.

The Journey: Part One

This is Matt and I having lunch before our big day at the doctor’s office on March 22nd, 2006. But there is so much to tell that came before that. I’m going to begin this story by saying that I don’t share it simply for the drama of it, but so that there might be something in it for you whether you are on this particular journey or not. It is a story, not exactly of hope or faith, but of an opening. It is a story of being open.

After a miscarriage 2 years ago and many months (stretching into years) of trying for a baby, I was at my wit’s end. I had been depressed for much of that time, deeply afraid it would never happen for us or that it might take several more years to happen. I wasn’t sure I could endure any more years of depression, anger and rage. There were incredible lessons in there of course, miracles that unfolded and gifts, but there was no joy anymore, no joy left in the process.

At some point, I got it in my head that if a psychic could tell me that it was going to work out (and when) even if it was years down the road, I’d be able to wait. I just needed some faith and that was the only way I could think of to find it. (Believe me, I had looked inside for that shit and it was nowhere to be found)

I got on a 5 month waiting list for one of the most famous psychics in the country and paid hundreds of dollars to speak to him. When the day finally arrived, I was full of excitement and anticipation. The phone rang, he introduced himself, then asked, “So what’s your question?”

I explained it to him briefly, that my husband and I had been trying to have a baby…

He interrupted me.

“Yeah. It’s not going to work.”

What? I was in shock.

“Not unless you do IVF. Not going to work. You better talk to your husband about that or about adoption or just not having kids in this lifetime.”

I have always heard that expression “a chill went up my spine” but had never actually felt it. My entire body went cold. “Wow. That really doesn’t resonate for me,” I said.

“I don’t care if it doesn’t resonate. You asked me and I’m telling you. I know you want to do it all ‘naturally’ but the only way it will work is with IVF.” He said this coldly and bluntly, arrogantly, and a rage grew inside of me alongside a deep terror and sadness. “You didn’t hire me to tell you what you wanted to hear did you?” he said then, after a long silence.

But of course I did.

I got off the phone as fast as I could and cried for the next two days. I cried because I was angry. I cried because I was afraid he was right. I cried because I had given my power away (not to mention hundreds of dollars) to some arrogant prick on the phone. I cried because he shoved me up against my worst fears.

At Glide that Sunday, a woman I know was there with her mom. She had told me about her mom several times, about her connection to spirit, about her wisdom and magic and eccentric ways. When I met her she reached out and hugged me immediately (even though she couldn’t see me well due to glaucoma) and said something like, “I love you already!” which is how I felt about her.

We chatted for a while and and then I realized an incredible synchronicity – that her mom had been friends with the mother of the psychic I went to. I said to her, “I have to ask you a weird question. Do you know anything about her son? if his readings are accurate?” and then I burst into tears and told them the story. She said to me, “I don’t know if his prediction is right or wrong Andrea, but I encourage you to trust that experience. You manifested it for a reason. There is something to learn from it. You created it. Trust every experience.”

My conversations with Matt shifted after that. What once began as “That fucker doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” evolved slowly into, “So what if we did have to do IVF? What if we did have twins? We want to have two kids anyway. Maybe we’d have a boy and a girl! That would be so cool… and we wouldn’t have to go through this again! And the money… we’ll figure it out. Maybe our families could chip in or we could sell art…” Suddenly what we saw from this place was possibility and hope and excitement and kids! And with that we decided to make an appointment at the UCSF IVF center. The gift of the psychic was that it forced me to look a different way, to shift my perspective and see what was there.

Now let me back up for a minute and explain why opening this door was so significant to me. I grew up in Santa Cruz. I grew up with nutritionists and acupuncturists and herbs. My mother even had a “psychic surgery” once (a very interesting story I might add) We avoided antibiotics whenever we could and took chinese herbs to combat colds. The smell of vitamin stores and the taste of carob still remind me of childhood. I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to take aspirin when I have a headache. I am slightly western medicine phobic.

So this journey of (in)fertility took me to acupuncture, to herbs, to quitting caffeine, to exercising just the right amount, to drinking only bottled water, to taking my temperature every morning, standing on my head, testing my fluids, charting charting charting… All the while trying to “relax.” Which is scientifically impossible if you are doing all of these other things. (And by the way, if you don’t already know, telling an (in)fertile to “just relax” is the kiss of death. She will hate you.) But I digress.

There is a part two to this story.

Not to spoil the surprise, but I did get pregnant! and we didn’t have to go all the way to IVF. Luckily, there were other interventions we could try first. Nevertheless, this story as I said before, is about an opening. So that’s what I leave you with now. With us opening that door… (Part two coming soon)


Sabrina’s studio, San Francisco, CA, Canon Digital Rebel

I went to see my pal Sabrina’s work over the weekend. I am always amazed by her talent, her committment to her art and her incredible passion. (Not to mention that her paintings blow my mind.) Her studio is like an art piece in and of itself-a collage of vintage colorful shoes and furniture, photographs and quotes, books and sequins… girly and lush. So proud and excited for the new directions she is going.

Another incredible photographer here.


sunflower, community garden, berkeley, Canon Digital Rebel

I feel the need to add a postscript to my last entry. I’m afraid I gave a bad impression of my doctor! who is truly the best of the best, whom I trust completely and totally adore. When I miscarried a couple of years ago, she called me at home each day to see how I was doing. She remembers everything I tell her and always gives the impression that she has plenty of time for me (even when I know she is on the clock just like everyone else) She is total superhero material. She is a nurse midwife, a mother and part of a group at UCSF that gives conscious care to their patients. I am in good hands!

A few hours after posting that entry, my curiosity got the best of me and I called them to confirm my pre-pregnancy weight. Turns out my suspicions were right. The weight I started out with was written wrong in their books. They thought I had gained double what I have actually gained. Her reaction was reasonable. Anyway, it was interesting to watch all of my food issues come up, right there like they were never very far away.

It felt important to go through those weeks and in the end reclaim my joy and trust in my body… I appreciate and love it when you share your stories. I remember them all and have them in my pocket. We are all going through this together in that time-is-not-really-linear kind of way.

Sending you love this weekend and a stumble upon a community garden that you didn’t know about…

17 weeks

17 weeks, self-portrait, Canon Digital Rebel

I went to the doctor recently and they weighed me, an impressive number I might add, one that I had never seen on the scale so close to my line of vision. As the doctor scribbled it into my file, I managed a weak, “Am I gaining weight too fast?” She didn’t answer at first, just looked at the number, paused and said, “Just keep doing your yoga and your walking.

As I left her office, got home and did my ritual bi-hourly browse through the fridge, an old familiar shame gripped me again. No self-control, are you sure you want to eat that? too many pounds, too fast…

In pregnancy, perhaps for the first time in my life, I felt safe. Safe from all the sucking in, the watching, the measuring, the checking, the trimming, the perfect perfect… For the first time in my life, my belly is relaxed, proud to be growing and stretching and becoming more visible. I want everyone to know, to see that there is a babe growing inside of me. Sometimes I don’t even think it is big enough.

And then this number appears and the judgment follows and all that innocence is crushed. The joy I felt all those weeks on my trips to the Berkeley Bowl market, the peaches I’ve devoured, the strawberries and whipped cream, the chocolate ice cream. All this food has never actually tasted so good, which could be part hormones and partly the fact that I’ve never let myself dive in and enjoy it all.

I don’t mean to make this dramatic. I’m really not all that worried, but a little angry that someone disturbed my food reverie. That even at this precious time, this sacred time of feeding my body and indulging it with exactly what it is craving, that this old voice is so loud.

So I’m letting it go, letting the numbers go, and trusting my body is doing all the right things. And dammit, I’m proud of that big ol’ belly I’m growing.